We just finished our school year last week, and I was proud with the positive ending in my Literature class. I hosted a Book Bistro party that included a ‘book swap’ – students found a book on their bookshelves at home and wrapped it up for an exchange in the classroom. Not only was this fun, but we engaged in book reviews of the books that were exchanged with each other. I, of course, included cookies as a fun way to celebrate this activity so the students felt this was more than an academic activity – it was festive!
Little did they know they were getting excited about reading and getting new books! While I don’t know if they will actually read them during the summer (perhaps I could do a survey to assess the success of the book swap), I did get a sense that my students were more empowered to read during the summer. I overcame the first hurdle to reading which is providing a book for the nightstand! They can’t say, “I don’t know what to read” when they just came home with a book from a friend at school!
So, as I write my thank you notes to students for the wonderful end-of-year gifts (which, thankfully, included gift cards for Amazon and Barnes & Noble to get books to replace the ones that were not returned to my classroom library!), I encourage my young Grade 6 students to continue reading over the summer. They were challenged on Goodreads to read more books, and many of them achieved their goal. Now, let’s hope they avoid the infamous ‘Summer Slide’ and continue to achieve the goal of becoming life-long readers!